Glass ceilings aside, millions of women are prohibited from accomplishing little more than survival. Not because of a lack of ambition, or ability, but because of a lack of safe water and adequate sanitation. Millions of women and children in the developing world spend untold hours daily, collecting water from distant, often polluted sources, then return to their villages carrying their filled 40 pound jerry cans on their backs.
An estimated 200 million hours are spent each day globally collecting water.
Surveys from 45 developing countries show that women and children bear the primary responsibility for water collection in the vast majority of households (76%). This is time not spent working at an income-generating job, caring for family members, or attending school.
In A Town Like Alice, the main character Jean uses some of her inheritance to dig a well for the women of the village where the British women prisoners lived because she realised the difference it would make.
That book is fiction and was written more than 60 years ago but there are still all those millions of hours wasted now in real life because people don’t have easy access to water.